We rounded up some of our favorite lesser known alternatives to popular travel destinations. These spots have all the appeal (if not more) with a fraction of the crowds.
Instead of Rocky Mountain National Park, try Indian Peaks Wilderness
Don’t get us wrong, Rocky Mountain National Park is an incredible place, and from our HQ here in Boulder, we’re lucky to call it our backyard. There are some downsides though: major crowds, permits that are tricky to get your hands on, and no dogs allowed. The Indian Peaks Wilderness is just to the south of RMNP with a very similar landscape and a fraction of the people, plus you can bring your 4-legged adventure partner. For a good adventure, scramble up Mount Neva or Lone Eagle Peak in the summer, or skin up and ski down Mount Toll in the winter.
Instead of Angkor Wat, try Beng Melea
Beng Melea seems to have a similar architectural style to Angkor Wat, so although not everything is known about this abandoned temple, it’s likely from the same time period. Since being abandoned, the temple has been overrun with greenery, giving it an other worldly aesthetic. With no crowds and a mere $5 entrance fee, this is an easy swap.
Instead of Machu Picchu, try Ciudad Perdida
Machu Picchu gets 1 million visitors per year, and the overcrowding has led to a ticketing system, capping visitors at 500 per day. The ruins of the Ciudad Perdida in Colombia are thought to be centuries older than Machu Picchu, and involve a 5 or 6 day trek through the rainforest to access.
Instead of Bali, try Flores
Bali is beautiful and the surf is incredible, no doubt about it. But it’s completely overrun with tourists. The island of Flores, Indonesia is just a short flight away and has all the tropical appeal of Bali without feeling like you’re at a frat party. Flores touts stunning volcanoes to hike, huge waterfalls, and Komodo Dragons for crying out loud.
Instead of Iceland, try Norway
This one was tough because we absolutely love Iceland, too, but hear us out. Iceland is extremely expensive. We’re talking $15 beers and $600/night hotel rooms – cut that in half in Norway. Iceland has the volcanos, but Norway has the fjords, and bigger mountains. If you’re lucky, you can catch the Northern Lights at either. You know what? They’re both great, you should probably just take advantage of Icelandair’s stopover deal and visit both.